यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः | स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ||३-२१||
yadyadācarati śreṣṭhastattadevetaro janaḥ . sa yatpramāṇaṃ kurute lokastadanuvartate ||3-21||
3.21. Whatsoever a great man does, other commoners do the same; whatever standard he sets up, the world follows that.
Shri Purohit Swami
3.21 For whatever a great man does, others imitate. People conform to the standard which he has set.
Sri Abhinav Gupta
3.21 See Comment under 3.22
3.21 Whatever ‘an eminent man,’ i.e., he, who is famous for his knowledge of all the scriptures and for his observance of the scriptural dictates, performs, others who have incomplete knowledge of the scriptures will also perform, following his example. With regard to any duty which is being performed with all its ancillaries by an eminent personage, the people with incomplete knowledge will do it with the same ancillaries. Therefore for the protection of the world, all acts that are appropriate to one’s station and stage in life must always be performed by an eminent man who is distinguished for his wisdom. Otherwise, the evil generated from the ruin of the large masses of the world (who neglect their duties by following his example), will bring him down, even if he were a follower of pure Jnana Yoga.
3.21 Yat yat, [This is according to the Ast. The G1. Pr. reads, yat yat yesu yesu.-Tr.] whatever action; a sresthah, superior person, a leader; acarati, does; itarah, another; janah, person, who follows him; does tat tat eva, that very action. Further, yat, whatever; sah, he, the superior person; kurute, upholds; as pramanam, authority, be it Vedic or secular; lokah, an ordinary person; anuvartate, follows; tat, that, i.e. he accepts that very thing as authoritative. ‘If you have a doubt here with regard to the duty of preventing people from straying, then why do you not observe Me?’
3.21 Whatever a great man does, other men also do. Whichever standard he sets, the world follows it.
3.21 Whatever a superior person does, another person does that very thing! Whatever he upholds as authority, an ordinary person follows that.
3.21 Whatsoever a great man does, that the other men also do; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (mankind) follows.
3.21 यद्यत् whatsoever? आचरति does? श्रेष्ठः the best? तत्तत् that? एव only? इतरः the other? जनः people? सः he (that great man)? यत् what? प्रमाणम् standard (authority? demonstration)? कुरुते does? लोकः the world (people)? तत् that? अनुवर्तते follows.Commentary Man is a social animal. He is an imitating animal too. He takes his ideas of right and wrong from those whom he regards as his moral superior. Whatever a great man follows? the same is considered as an authority by his followers. They try to follow him. They endeavour to walk in his footsteps.